Quartz is the top-performing material in our countertop tests, and it's also where we're seeing some of the most innovative designs. That was apparent at the recent Kitchen and Bath Industry Show in New Orleans, where Silestone Suede, a quartz countertop with a soft, leathery finish was among the more head-turning products. The only catch? The surface may require extra care and attention, which negates the very attribute that makes quartz our top countertop.
If you think squeezing a toilet into your narrow powder room is hard, imagine what it's like designing a bathroom for a commercial airplane. We're seeing more compact toilets for the home, including the space-saving Gerber Viper toilet. Now airlines are benefiting from smaller commodes as well that can withstand high velocity while using minimal water, according to The Wall Street Journal. As demanding as those conditions are, they're nothing compared to the tests we put toilets through in our search for the top models.
If the bathroom fixtures in your home were made before 1995 then you are flushing money down the toilet. By switching to a WaterSense toilet and repairing or replacing leaky plumbing fixtures and sprinkler systems, you can save 10,000 gallons of water per year and as much as 10 percent on your utility bill. That's the message of Fix a Leak Week, an annual reminder from the Environmental Protection Agency to be more miserly with your water.
The number of major mattress makers is about to shrink again. Four years after Serta and Simmons combined under joint ownership, Tempur-Pedic has now gotten approval from the Federal Trade Commission to acquire competitor Sealy. The resulting pairs of brands will together command more than 60 percent of the market, according to Reuters.
Sleep problems keeping you up at night? Exercise, no matter the level or time of day, might help, according to a poll by the National Sleep Foundation released this week. It found that people who exercise, whether light or vigorous, early in the day or right before bed, sleep better than people who don't exercise at all.
The National Sleep Foundation's annual campaign promoting the health benefits of sleep is from March 3-10, ending with the return to Daylight Saving Time on Sunday. This year's National Sleep Awareness Week also coincides with the release of Consumer Reports' comprehensive mattress tests, with advice on finding the perfect mattress for your body type and tips for getting the right amount of shut-eye.
In an effort to boost the quality of their product--and maybe grab some market share from national brands such as Charmin, Cottonelle, and Scott--Walmart and other major retailers are rolling out softer versions of their store-brand toilet paper. In Consumer Reports' toilet paper reviews, most standouts were store brands, which also happen to cost less than the big names.
A hose that reportedly fits in your pocket, a robot that cleans grills, and a gel-infused memory-foam pillow are a few of the new products and claims that Consumer Reports' staffers spotted at the preview to the International Home and Housewares Show in New York City. At least one has made it into our testing program. All are coming soon to a store near you.
Why sing in the shower a capella when you can get a full orchestra accompaniment with the push of a button. A portable speaker on Kohler's Moxie Showerhead can stream music from a smart phone, MP3 player, laptop, tablet, or other Bluetooth-enabled device from up to 32 feet away. The singing showerhead was turning heads at this week's International Builders' Show.
Your next toilet could save you more than just water—Gerber's new Viper also promises to save some space without sacrificing performance. On display at the International Builders' Show, the slim toilet can help you change a small space into a powder room.
It's not easy to get excited about toilet seats, but the new Grip-Tight Reveal Q3 from Kohler, on display at the International Builders' Show, could really make life easier in the bathroom—especially if you're the fastidious type, or if you've ever landed on the bathroom floor after a movable seat sent you for a ride.
If you're like most people, the idea of a hands-free faucet still conjures up frustrating visits to the airport bathroom. But Kohler says it has fine-tuned the technology, saving you time in the kitchen—plus preventing the potential spread of germs and bacteria. We tried it out at the International Builders' Show.
With the real estate market heating up again, sellers are getting more creative about describing their homes in ways that make them stand out in the online classifieds. Typically, the ads brag about views, closets and kitchens, but now some homeowners have begun name-dropping the brand of their toilet, according to the Appraisal column in The New York Times. Kohler and Toto are just two toilet brands that have popped up in recent ads. Models from those same brands also appear on Consumer Reports' list of top toilet picks although our best flusher is an American Standard.
The makers of Charmin believe that we should all stop pretending that we don't read in the bathroom. In fact, in a lengthy new ad running in Rolling Stone magazine, Charmin says "everyone needs bathroom entertainment that goes beyond staring at tiles, marble slabs and showerheads." Charmin then makes the cheeky claim that the paper on which the ad is printed "sure is better than our competition." And while it's true that Charmin scored excellent for softness in Consumer Reports tests, it wasn't better than other brands on some key tasks and didn't make our list of top picks.
Our testers put 100s of products through their paces at our National Testing and Research Center. Learn more about how we test for: